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Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



rumble in the bunghole posted:

I'm listening MegaDumbCast, the podcast about Ninjas and Superspies someone shared earlier, and while it could really do with a cohost, I'm laughing hard about cyber blackface so it's doing something right.

Wow. I'd totally forgotten that particular gadget from N&S.

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chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





PurpleXVI posted:

I'm imagining a human knight who just wants to be a bit dark and brooding, so he becomes a knight in Mousillon, and the local knights invite him to a gathering... where it turns out they're all undead(though otherwise reasonably pleasant). So he keeps his visor down and tries his best not to out himself as a human.

I'm pretty sure this is a thing. Like, a lot of the knights in Mousilon are undead or mutated or similar, so the "normal" ones dress all in spiky black with their helmets always on so they fit in.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Also a terrific place for all that sad poetry about how much everything sucks.:emo:

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!




Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West, Part 20: "Most Traditionalists live the way their ancestors did centuries ago, before the coming of the white man."

Weapons of Note

We're directed to New West and Lone Star for more equipment, so look away!... and then back again, because there's some new stuff.

The first is the NA-LB1 Laser Bow, which...

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

This bow looks very much like a modern compound bow, complete with pulleys and multiple strings, but the area where an arrow is normally fired has a short barrel and metallic laser discharge mechanism. A cable attaches the mechanism to the bowstring (which is really a cable, not a string). When the string is drawn, the cable pulls on a plunger type generator in the mechanism and generates enough energy for a single laser shot.

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

A strength of 12 or higher is needed to draw this bow because of the power needed to cycle up a charge in the generator.

:psyduck:

My head hurts. But if pulling a string with modest human strength to generate enough power to destroy a tank is just too much trouble, then...

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

... a port is located on the weapon for an E-clip (20 shot) in the event of a broken string or jammed plunger.

Oh, good, I can just use it as a very clunky pistol instead. It does a garbage 2d6 for damage either way.

There's the NA-SW4 M.D.C. Bow - wait, does "NA" really stand for "Native American"? Oookay. Anyway, it lets you fire mega-damage arrows if you have superhuman strength. All the high-tech arrows are reprinted from Rifts Sourcebook One. Bows are given prices but not ranges, so work out the difference between then yourself! Lastly, there's vibro-tomahawks and vibro-spears if you need them.

The Preserves

... come in delicious boysenberry, gooseberry, or other berries you wouldn't even look at outside of a jar.


The sea levels have risen dramatically, but there's still plenty of glacial ice in Alaska. Sure, why not?

Domains of Technology

Oh, these are something else. Basically, these are places where "Modern Native Americans" reclaimed technological facilities and learned how to reproduce technology. Most of this comes from a KLS factory "in the Northwest wilderness" and various military facilities. However, they lack raw resources to produce a lot. They don't share their technology much, but have traded warily with Bandito Arms. Naturally, a lot of the Traditionalists make frowny face or shed a single tragic tear over this.

There Should Probably Be a Header Here

So, areas "dominated by Native Americans" are called Preserves, regardless of their position on the spirits vs. mecha spectrum. This is because they "preserve" the land and "many of the old traditions" and "people live in harmony with nature". Sure, okay. We're told "most Traditionalists and Pure Ones have migrated to their old homelands", which seems like a slight stretch for groups of people that have been seperated from them by centuries in some cases. While the Moderns and Traditionalists originally worked together on these, apparently they've grown apart over the heads. There's an implication that-

Rifts World Book 15: Spirit West posted:

Some say the gods or even the Nunnehi had used some form of magic to foster the early cooperation between the tribes, later lifting it when the Indians were strong enough to stand on their own, but no one can prove this theory.

Ah, benevolent mind control, that always works! In any case, there are about fifteen large Preserves and 30+ smaller ones. Outside of Preserves, clan chiefs and the like run things. It notes that by the time the Coalition pushes west, the "Indians may be strong enough to stop the CS or at least give them pause."

However, they generally conflict with Simvan Monster Riders, Brodkil, "some" clans of Psi-Stalkers, Xiticix, Worm Wraiths, and a variety of monsters. Part of this is territorial, others are the objection to being eaten (like with people such as the Simvan and Brodkil who eat humans on the regular). They're generally too far from the Coalition to conflict them outside of the occasional 'bout with a scouting party or skeleton extermination patrol. The Coalition knows there are organized communities out there but not nearly their number. (This, of course, conflicts with the fact that we learned earlier that there are Native Americans in the Northeast - right on the Coalition's doorstep - but never mind that. This is Spirit West.)

Notable Preserves

Bullet points, away!
  • Fort Apache (New Mexico): This is the largest and best armed preserve, but they're isolationists that don't tolerate other races (human or otherwise) that operate out of a pre-rifts military complex. They were the first to discover the SAMAS suits and shared them, which they now consider to be a mistake. They use a techno-wizard generator for power and the facility has access to "sacred caves" to contact the spirits in. "... these Indians seem to love their security."
  • The Valley Preserve (California): Based out of the city of Stockton and run by the Miwok, this has a significant number of "non-Indians" who "have adopted the Indian's culture and beliefs."
  • Shoshone Mountain (Nevada): Built out of a mountain facility with a sophisticated aquifer, they have underground farming complexes.
  • Water Point Preserve (Washington): Run by the Makah out of Puget Sound, a small minority of "Moderns" run technological defenses including four pre-rifts submarines.
  • Nimipu Preserve (Idaho): Based out of Boise and run by the Nez Perce, this has a significant "non-Indian" population who "have accepted the governing of the Native Americans and many of the Traditional customs, teachings and magic." They have an ongoing war with Black-Winged Monster Men who occupy nearby ruins, as well as a number of raiding groups.
  • Blackwall (Montana): Run by intolerant Blackfeet, they don't even generally don't even work with other Native American communities as extreme Traditionalists.They generally see "non-Indians" as invaders to be driven out or killed. The only exception are the Cyber-Knights, but their respect towards them is only grudging.
  • Casper Preserve (Wyoming): Apparently the most-well defended by a "Cheyenne / Sioux Coalition" (not the Coalition, just a coalition), these are avid Traditionalists who have a lot of monstrous threats to contend with.
  • Fort Dakota (North Dakota): Run by a mixture of tribes but mainly Sioux who form a Renegade-Traitionalist alliance and boasts experience and skilled warriors due to time spent fighting Xiticix. They also help protect some "D-Bee towns and White settlers" and have allied with Tolkeen, and are sending warriors to assist them.
  • Fort Comanche & The Comanche Preserve (Kansas): Mostly Traditionalist with some Renegades, the Comanche here have been willing to "adopt" Psi-Stalkers, "whites", and D-Bees. They apparently have a high regard for life and generally accept peaceful folk who show respect irregardless of who they are. However, the Coalition directly want to expand here, and have been directly been trying to collect information and perform sabotage. No doubt the Comanche'll need some PCs to turn the tide.
  • Sky Port Preserve (Louisiana): Built on pylons and stilts over swamp territory, apparently elemental shamans hold great power here. They're allied with a tribe of Psi-Stalkers but often conflict with a group of Ukt water serpents.
  • Camp Cherokee (South Carolina): This Cherokee community is just south of where Asheville once was, and is built on a ley line nexus where they drain off enough energy to avoid random rifts. (You can do that?)
  • The Central Preserve (Kentucky): Used as a gathering point between neighboring tribes, and the Magic Zone acts as a buffer against Coalition aggression. However, there are apparently hundreds of man-monsters attracted by the magical power here.
  • The Longhouse Preserve (New York): Dominated by the Mohawk and run by the "Oneida, Senica, and Mahican" tribes, they have a bunch of spirit warriors!.. for no apparent reason. I mean, who do they have to fight? They've rebuilt Albany.
  • Fort Huron (Ontario, Canada): "... the only known large Preserve in the old Canadian Empire.", run out of Chapleau.
  • Fort Alaska: This is an "Eskimo" community built out of a pre-rifts military base "built into the ice". Apparently it was designed as a submersible city that was "intentionally ice-bound to form a stable base of operations".

:psyduck:

I... what? What... I... what?

What? How does that- I- what?

We're done here.



Conclusions

Don't write RPG books about ethnicities. Writing them about locations or times were an ethnicity is dominant, sure, fine. But don't do World of Darkness Gypsies, Kindred of the East, or GURPS Irish Travellers... wait, that was just GURPS Traveller. Well, don't do the first two. It's just a bad idea. At best, you flanderize an entire people. Here, we've got the drum beaten of how Native Americans are favored by an entirely new cosmology and are literally more magical due to their ethnic purity. No. Don't do that. Doing this book was a miserable chore that took a ton of work that pretty much killed me. Let my ghost warn you: it's a miserable book despite trying to be kind. Breaux is well-intentioned, but that doesn't make it right. About the best I can say is that it's inspired me to look more at mythical material of the Americas independently of the book because there's so much interesting mythology that... isn't used here.

Not that they've learned from books like this. I have a recent issue of The Rifter that has the optional Tinkers, who are basically not-Irish Travellers for Nightbane with special access to the "mirror world" of that game that they use to travel around. Yes, it's very similar to Ravenloft's Vistani. Lessons are not learned from Spirit West, even though this is probably one of the most rarely-referenced books in the line going forward, even where it would be obvious. The Native Americans supposedly omnipresent in this book will largely retreat into the background going forward, for better or worse. Even in the land of their birth, they more often than not become a footnote. It's as if they were as distant as South America or Japan. There's some more racial insensitivity in the near future of the line should I get that far, but thankfully I don't think they ever put out a book as bad as this one since its publication.

Doing this book finally serves as an endcap to the current set of books, and wraps up the "western trilogy" of Rifts tomes. I stuck with the current format so they'd all fit together, but I'll be making some serious changes to how I do Rifts reviews going forward. Namely, they'll be much shorter and "deep dive" a lot less. The new format hopefully will be more punchy and allow the books to continue at a quicker pace, but I'll be taking a break for a bit after this. After Spirit West, I'd say I've earned it.

Next: Fascists have a boat party.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 23:31 on Aug 6, 2017

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




PurpleXVI posted:

I'm imagining a human knight who just wants to be a bit dark and brooding, so he becomes a knight in Mousillon, and the local knights invite him to a gathering... where it turns out they're all undead(though otherwise reasonably pleasant). So he keeps his visor down and tries his best not to out himself as a human.

And at one point his helmet gets knocked off and reveals to everyone that he's actually a normal human, and all his freakish undead and mutant friends pat him on the shoulder and say they knew all along and were appreciative that he made the effort to fit in.

DigitalRaven
Oct 9, 2012

When I kill you with a motor-car, you should have the common decency to stay dead, you horrid little object




PurpleXVI posted:

I'm imagining a human knight who just wants to be a bit dark and brooding, so he becomes a knight in Mousillon, and the local knights invite him to a gathering... where it turns out they're all undead(though otherwise reasonably pleasant). So he keeps his visor down and tries his best not to out himself as a human.

Better yet, in true Monstrous Regiment style, all of the local knights are actually normal humans, desperately trying to keep their secret from the others, because they're convinced that they're the only one.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I really want to play a radical yet patient reformer game in Mousillon.
Maybe dig underground rooms for education and housing for the more mutated people (and non-cisnormative activities).
Not so much a Stalinist drag-society-into-industrial-age more of playing the long game.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail

Hear me now, oh thou bleak and unbearable world! Thou art base and debauched as can be, and a Knight with his banner so bravely unfurled hurls down his gauntlet to thee!

Naturally, a book called Knights of the Grail, where the shining knights are one of the big stars of its setting, is going to have a chapter on Bretonnian knighthood in both mechanics and campaign fluff. It deals with the unique mechanics like the Virtues and special rules to make your knight's mount more of an important secondary character (what great horseman doesn't have a named horse?), as well as plenty of advice on how to handle a knight's social position while still allowing them to participate in normal RPG adventures.

Bretonnian Knights are expected to be male and noble. Every single noble male in Bretonnia becomes a knight. They may be terrible at it, and some may not even go on their errantry, but every male noble will claim to have been knighted; it's the expected and acceptable job for a man. Of course, plenty of driven non-nobles/non-males will do the same, as we've been over in detail. Ideally, a knight upholds the virtues of valor, courtesy, and loyalty. In practice, most knights will violate these ideals to some degree, whether they admit it or not, because Bretonnian society probably wouldn't survive everyone following the letter of the law all the time and also because Bretonnian knights are still people.

The ideal of valor means that a Bretonnian knight is expected to fight bravely and strongly, even against foes who are obviously superior, even if the battle is suicidal. Even Bret knights will ignore this one if they're sure no-one is watching (or at least, no-one who will talk about it) and so Bretonnian armies will still quit the field when they're losing battles badly. This ideal also means a knight is obligated to train and practice often, so as to be the best of warriors; to be a valorous knight is to be one of the greatest warriors in the Old World. This especially obligates knights to prove themselves better than peasants, and certainly better than women; Bretonnians who lose a fight with a skilled female mercenary of common birth will sometimes resort to some pretty embarrassing antics to claim they are still technically the better soldier. This ideal also means a knight will fight his opponents from a place where he can look them into the eye and stand toe to toe with them; no bows, no crossbows, and definitely no guns are permitted to the ideal knight.

The ideal of loyalty means a knight is supposed to obey his feudal superiors. An order from the King always supersedes that of your direct superior, but outside of those sorts of clear cases this can get very complicated for a knight who holds estates from two lords who don't like one another. Also, disobeying your feudal superior to obey your king can lead to your feudal superior coming to dispute your interpretation of your chivalric obligations with a besieging army, which complicates things further. Even worse for knights, Bretonnians love tragic, romantic stories of great knights caught in a situation where they are caught between two lords and cannot behave correctly outside of dying heroically in some third manner. Knights who find themselves the stars of such romances in real life will often seek out sensible Adventurers to help them get out of these messes.

The ideal of courtesy means a knight must act properly at all times. For instance, a knight should always show respect to his feudal superiors by allowing them the honor of engaging the most powerful and dangerous foe on the field, and the display of knightly courtesy that can result when facing something like a Dragon or a Bloodthirster of Khorne can be truly something to behold, as each knight tries to allow another the honor of engaging in such a battle. Knights never directly insult one another, though they may suggest an enchanter or poisoned ale are the only reason a fellow knight could hold some idiotic opinion. Part of a Bretonnian knight's training is learning how to couch insults in the most polite terms, such that the person they insult never realizes, or realizes it much later. A knight must also always show courtesy to women, allowing them to eat first, be seated first, and be given the best room at the inn. They get no say in this, and a knight certainly never allows a woman to travel on her own or seek out any kind of danger.

Whereas an Imperial knight would begin as squire in another knight's household, Bretonnians are trained until they come of age by their family and retainers, then sent off at an age somewhere between 16 and 18 to go ride trail as a Knight Errant. Knights Errant have a famous reputation for being marvelously unwise, as they have some schooling in combat but absolutely no experience with the world. Going off by yourself without help is a good way for a Knight Errant to die rather than prove themselves, and if no-one sees your deeds no-one is going to reward you for them anyway. Thus, most seek company. Many will form up with other Knights Errant, but this leads to the blind leading the blind as none of them have any idea what to do, there are just more of them to do it with. Wiser knights will seek out experienced peasant adventurers or foreign mercenaries as 'retainers' and go around with people who know something of the world. At any time in Bretonnia, there will be bands of young, excitable, enthusiastic nobles scampering around the countryside, looking for fairytale adventures and great quests to involve themselves in. At least half the time, they make more trouble than they solve.

A PC who makes it through Knight Errant should get an offer of a household position or a fief of their own around the time they gain enough EXP to finish the career, unless the player wants to go into a career other than Knight of the Realm (though Errant's only listed exit is Knight of the Realm, they could spend 200 EXP to go into any other Basic career) and continue their Errantry until they get a more prestigious offer. At this point, the knight's player and the GM should talk to the other players to decide how they want to continue adventuring together: If they want to stay landless and wandering, the Knight can be given a household position with wide responsibility to investigate and deal with troubles for their lord, and just so happen to stay in contact with their old 'retainers' so they can get to together regularly to travel and fight evil together. If they want to try owning land, the Knight gets a dangerous and exciting fief somewhere fun, and the other players come to help them rule the land and defend it from evil. The book advises spending some time making their new home a place they can care about, letting them get involved with the peasant squabbles and troubles surrounding their new lands, and giving them ample opportunities to have exciting adventures defending it from evil. If the players get tired of ruling a fief, the Knight can take up the questing vow and return to wandering the world, as a capable steward should show up right when the knight and other players want to get back to adventure.

A Questing Knight is like a knight on a second, much more serious errantry. They have set aside their lance, as it was the symbol of their place in the feudal order, and take up a great two-handed blade to better slay monstrous foes as they ride off to seek the grail. If you have a Questing Knight in your party, once again the book advises talking to the whole group. If they want to have normal adventures, then the object of the Questing Knight's quest is going to turn out to be the same grave threat a normal party of high level PCs would probably have dealt with anyway, as your group handles Chaos Lords, Vampire Counts, and other large-scale threats to Bretonnia. If you're playing one on one, or the other players think it would be fun, you can make the Quest much more personal, confronting the knight with his past failings and flaws of character and forcing him to overcome them in order to earn the Lady's grace. The Lady takes a very real interest in Questing Knights, and so they will find plenty of danger and signs as they make their way through life. Unfortunately, she also steps in to enforce societal norms at this level; unless you're running a game about the big exception, Questing Knight is where any peasant, woman, or peasant woman's knightly progress will end. This might lead them to start asking pointed questions about why, and that's one of the many reasons Questing Knight can exit into Faceless. If your player really does find the Grail, he'll face the Green Knight, an invincible foe who does not need game stats because the point is to try to fight this immortal enemy and stand against him bravely even knowing it should mean your death. If the knight passes that last test, the moment of meeting the Lady should be played for as much drama as possible; the character has become a genuine legend, one of the heroes of Bretonnia, and someone who can make a very real claim to being superhuman.

A Grail Knight re-enters the feudal hierarchy after their quest, but they are sworn not to swear to a lord who is not also a Grail Knight. This means that most end up sworn knights of the King himself, since every King is a Grail Knight, thus avoiding awkwardness should the heir of a Grail Knight end up being unable to fulfill the quest and thus suddenly losing many of his father's best knights. Even after swearing to the King, most Grail Knights live a little apart from society, and the peasantry regards them with religious awe. Bretonnians do not question the decisions of a Grail Knight as a rule, almost to the same extent as a Grail Damsel. If a Grail Knight chooses to hire, adventure with, or talk to peasants and foreigners, most will assume he has a very good reason and leave him be. They are free to pursue their own idea of justice, and are some of the greatest warriors in the world.

Next: A Knight's Steed and Virtues.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

It was a thing in a lot of Arthurian romances for Round table knights going out adventuring to have a wise trickster dwarf/little person as their worldly-wise sidekick.


So now I'm just picturing a Bretonnian Knight with a warhammer dwarf as his squire instead. I'm sure they wouldn't encourage him to do anything foolhardy and recklessly brave on a matter of principle!

At all.

Ever.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Now I want to play a Sancho Panza pastiche.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



unseenlibrarian posted:

It was a thing in a lot of Arthurian romances for Round table knights going out adventuring to have a wise trickster dwarf/little person as their worldly-wise sidekick.


So now I'm just picturing a Bretonnian Knight with a warhammer dwarf as his squire instead. I'm sure they wouldn't encourage him to do anything foolhardy and recklessly brave on a matter of principle!

At all.

Ever.

Dwarfs in Warhammer aren't tricksters or even particularly wise or worldly. You're looking for a halfling.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail

If you fail your animal training roll, the Hippogriff causes ADVENTURE

A knight's mount is more important than just being a light/heavy warhorse. Bretonnian horses are bar none the finest heavy chargers in the world, and they get some special rules to reflect that and the bond between a knight and their steed. First, a knight can spend EXP to give their steed Advances from the monster-advance careers. A horse can buy advances from Brute, a a Pegasus or or Hippogriff (if a knight is rich or brave enough to get hold of one) can buy from Chief. Judgment is to be exercised in these advances; a horse can't use BS, so why waste the EXP on it? Knights can also spend fortune points or fate points to benefit their mount, as well as themselves. These draw from the knight's pool the same way EXP spent on the mount does. Spending your own EXP to buff up your pet is a decent way to do things, and it will come up later with the greatest Basic class in the game line (BEAR TAMER) when we get to Kislev.

Horses are just solid light/heavy warhorses, using the normal stats from the book until you upgrade them. Pegasi are superior in both fighting ability and being able to fly, but they're very expensive (though you could always go adventuring and acquire a foal from the high mountain nests to raise!). A knight who wants to ride a pegasus is going to need it raised from a foal before it will accept being broken and ridden, so they'll need about a year between acquiring it and being able to ride it. Pegasi are smart, and not particularly vicious, so assistants and grooms can take care of the foal while the knight goes on quests. Hippogriffs are another story. Hippogriffs are apex predator dicks who don't like other horses, pegasi, or even other hippogriffs outside of mating season. To successfully raise one requires the knight to acquire it as an egg and raise it from a chick. Luckily, young hippogriffs can either be placed in the knight's backpack and peep adorably out from it when they're little babies (okay that's not in the book but that's how we did it with Cedric the Griffin and it's too cute not to suggest) or when they get a little older, defend themselves just fine, letting the knight continue to adventure. Hippogriffs are dicks, though, and so every month of adventure the knight needs to roll Animal Training or else, as I've noted, the book says 'It will cause an adventure'. The stupid horse-bird might eat a noblewoman's prize dog, or scurry off into the night to hunt and get itself caught in a fissure, or any other sort of mischief. The book cautions against making this process too arduous; getting the egg and raising the chick are long term processes, yes, but they should be more about fun and comic misadventure than punishing the player for trying to have a murderous horse-bird buddy.

Virtue is the greatest strength of any knight

I mean it: The Virtues are the marquee abilities for the marquee PC class for Knights of the Grail. They border on overpowered (with a few creeping over it) but not in an entirely game-breaking way. A knight will still fit in well with a normal party, and not being permitted to use a gun or crossbow is actually a really serious disadvantage. We've already gone over the Virtue of Chivalry and the Virtue of the Quest, and how each of the chosen Virtues has an upgraded form, so I'll be listing both the virtue and its Grail form underneath it. This should illustrate why people are so terrified of angering Grail Knights.

Virtue of Audacity: Agilgar of Parravon was a master of turning enemies' strengths against them. If you're fighting in melee with a foe with a higher Strength Bonus than you, you use their SB for your attack damage instead of yours. The Grail Virtue makes it so until you have done at least 1 Wound to a foe in combat, as long as you're actively fighting them, they *cannot hurt you*. Obviously designed for fighting the toughest and nastiest of foes, this ability is incredibly good.

Virtue of Confidence: Carelond of Couronne loved single combat. In his name, you can challenge any foe to combat as a full action. After doing so, you get +1 damage against that enemy. If you kill them or drive them off, you can choose a new enemy. Knights with the Virtue of Chivalry *must* accept your challenge and ride to meet you. In the Grail form, you also give anyone outside of the challenge -30% to hit you if they try to interfere in your duel. This is an okay ability, but the Grail Virtue makes it much, much stronger.

Virtue of Discipline: Marcus of Bordeleaux didn't care how many foes he was facing. Neither do you. Your enemies get no WS bonus for outnumbered you, ever. The Grail version gives you +1 Attacks per round if you're outnumbered 2-1 or more in your combat. This is loving awesome, as trying to take on 3-1 odds normally gives your enemies +20% WS to hit you, which you don't want them to have. The Grail version gives you a significant and serious bonus when you're cutting down mooks, too.

Virtue of Duty: Thierulf of Lyonesse was a loyal man, who liked to see others succeed even more than himself. If you have this virtue, name up to 3 other characters. If they are present in battle with you, they all get +5% WS. If any are not, you personally take -10%. The Grail version upgrades this to giving your allies +1 Attacks and +10% Strength, at the cost of -10% to Str and Tough both if your comrades aren't present. I'm not sure what happens if one of the people you vowed to dies or retires from battling; I'd probably rule the character could pick a new one. This one is very odd, but if you're there with your buddies and you're a Grail Knight, your buddies are going to be murdering the hell out of people.

Virtue of Empathy: Maurtrad of Montfort loved the people, and saw himself as their champion. You are the same, and the people love you in return. You get +10% Fellowship when dealing with peasants (which means every non-knight in Bretonnia!) and other knights will not scoff at you openly associating with your inferiors. As a Grail virtue, whenever leading peasant troops, *you* make any Fear or Terror saves for them, and if you succeed they don't have to roll. You may also spend 2 Fortune when praying for the Lady's favor to extend your Virtue of Chivalry bonus to the entire peasant unit you're with. You can lead up to your WP in peasants this way. Imagine an entire unit of soldiers with Impact on their hand weapons and who won't break or run. 'My weapon of choice is angry mob of suddenly heroic peasants' is great. And the +10% Fellowship makes dealing with social stuff a lot easier. You aren't going to be a badass like some of the other virtues, but this one isn't as weak as it looks at first.

Virtue of Heroism: Giles d'Breton of Bastonne was known for slaying the mightiest of monsters. With this ability, if you inflict more than 10 Wounds in a single blow against an enemy, they instantly take a Critical Hit equal to Wounds Inflicted-10. So if you did 16 Wounds on a major Fury-driven blow, you'd instantly Crit 6 someone no matter how much HP they had left. This ability only works if your weapon is not magic. The Grail version makes it even more insane: If, after the enemy has reduced the incoming damage by their Armor and TB, they'd be taking any wounds, you recalculate damage as if they had no armor. THEN you check if you did more than 10 and critted them. Depending on your luck, this ability can be incredibly overpowered, though your odds of inflicting more than 10 wounds in a single blow to the kinds of things where 10+ Wounds aren't already threatening to kill them are very low.

Virtue of the Ideal: Landuin of Mousillon was the epitome of a Bretonnian knight. Despite the fall of the land, so are you. If you're outnumbered, you get +1 Attacks. At Grail Virtue, you instantly add +5% to your WS and Strength. Simple, but the Knightly bonus is pretty big and Grail Bonus can push your base stats into crazytown.

Virtue of the Impetuous Knight: Balduin of Brionne was always the first in. Charging is a Half Action for you, instead of a Full (though you can still only take a single Attack type action in a turn). You get an extra +10% WS and +1 damage on Charges. As a Grail Virtue, you may override that normal restriction and Charge, then Charge again as your two half actions for a turn! ABC, always be charging.

Virtue of the Joust: Folgar of Artois was the best at jousting. You get a base +10% WS when using a Lance (which is already a good weapon type, with SB+1 Damage, Fast, Impact, Tiring). As a Grail Virtue, your lance becomes SB+2, loses Tiring, and counts as magic. You become so good at jousting you can stab ghosts. If you wield a magic lance, and it would have a different profile, it instead adds +1 to its damage and loses Tiring, still. This one is super powerful, since it removes almost all a Lance's drawbacks in time and Lances are already great, but remember you can't use a Lance at all while you're a Questing Knight, so it'll gather dust for a bit after Knight of the Realm.

Virtue of the Knightly Temper: Beren of Gisoreaux was one of the fastest knights alive. If you did damage to an enemy with a Charge, you may immediately follow up with a standard attack at no bonus. In the Grail version, the follow up attack becomes a FULL ATTACK and gains the +10% from Charging. Again, this is crazily powerful, since it makes you no longer have to give up multi-attacking to Charge.

Virtue of Noble Disdain: Fredemund of Aquitaine hated bows. Hated 'em! You get +10% to WS against anyone who has taken a shot at you or any allies from range, and take -10% to your BS stat because gently caress bows. In the Grail version, you double the critical value of any crit inflicted on a bow-using coward. This one kind of sucks and is very niche.

Virtue of the Penitent: Corduine of L'Anguille was forever mourning the way a hag turned his love into a sea serpent, but he still went to war when called. You can't use magic items (not that most PCs ever get to) or ride anything but normal horses, but your gear counts as magic as it is. Any critical hit against you reduces its value by 1, and a crit of 0 is ignored. In Grail form, you get to reverse the dice roll to determine how serious a crit is, if it would make it less serious against you. The magic gear thing is useful, and reducing Critical Hits IS helpful, but ideally you want to avoid critical hits as it is, so this is kind of planning for failure. One of the weaker ones, though still useful.

Virtue of Purity: Redemund of Quenelles was virtuous and completely devoted to the Lady. You get +1 Fortune points per day and don't need to take any time to pray for a Blessing of the Lady (though you still have to spend the Fortune). As a Grail Knight of Purity, you automatically have the blessing of the Lady without paying for it in every battle. Virtue of Chivalry is already pretty strong, an extra Fortune point to spend on rerolls, extra actions, etc is good even if you don't pray to the Lady, and really this one is simply but great.

Virtue of Stoicism: Lambard of Carcasonne was a hard man to impress. You get to reroll any failed attempt to resist Intimidation, Fear, or Terror. As a Grail Virtue, you become completely immune to these things, and get +20% to saves against any magic designed to attack your mind. A simple, straightforward bonus, but considering Fear can take you out of a fight for multiple rounds being well guarded against it could be worth it.

Next Time: A few words on the terrible pre-made adventure in the back, the pre-made PCs, and a wrap-up on Bretonnia.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Cythereal posted:

Dwarfs in Warhammer aren't tricksters or even particularly wise or worldly. You're looking for a halfling.

Great cooks, too. They really bring a party together.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Cythereal posted:

Dwarfs in Warhammer aren't tricksters or even particularly wise or worldly. You're looking for a halfling.

That was the general thrust of my statement yes. "Dwarf companion" means something entirely different in Warhammer. Or, well, any fantasy game that tries to make Arthurian/Carolingian knightly romances mix with Tolkienesque races.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Slayer/Questing Knight buddy cop story would be great though.

They'd get on real well, just the way they'd get on would lead to crazy for everyone.

E: I don't think it came up earlier, so: The way dwarfs commit suicide if they feel they've been dishonored or ruined is to turn their hair into a mohawk, paint their beards orange, grab an axe, and run off to kill the greatest of foes until one gets the dwarf. They don't believe in just jumping off a cliff, you gotta go commit suicide by troll, unless you get so badass trolls aren't a challenge at which point you graduate to bigger, nastier stuff.

If you run into a Dragon Slayer or Demon Slayer that one is running out of stuff that could *possibly* kill him or her.

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013



Grimey Drawer

Another interesting combo would be a slayer and a blood knight.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



And then toss the Bret into the mix. And add a relatively sane follower of Khorne in for funsies, too. Or house rule a Saurus.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer Fantasy: Knights of the Grail

I don't think there are any good pre-made adventures in this line

I don't understand it. The writers in this book, and in this line, clearly understand their system really well and push for the PCs to be the main characters. You're very clearly supposed to advance and survive most of the time, what with Fate Points and gaining an upgrade every session at least. Somehow every single published adventure I've read is full of 'Roll Perception at -10 to continue plot', and the one in this book even ends with the worst of sins: Right at the final confrontation, as things are getting serious, a Grail Damsel busts through a window and lasers the poo poo out of the final boss, 'saving' you. You start out in L'Anguille, find a chaos cult hangout during a flood in the city, rescue some peasants held prisoner there, take them home, get falsely arrested by their lord, then with the help of some Merry Men you escape and find out he's a Nurglite. Then you fight him, then the Grail Damsel saves you. You get rescued by NPCs without any say in it yourselves twice, there aren't many fights or interesting bits, the adventure just sucks. It's even full of rolls that don't do anything. I don't understand this; like I said, the writers clearly know their own system, yet every time they write a pre-made adventure they seem to break a lot of the really good advice they give elsewhere in their books.

But then, I don't use pre-made adventures, so it's hard for me to judge their quality. I've always found they make more work rewriting than just making my own.

The pre-made characters are meant to show a simple Bretonnian party. They consist of an averagely skilled but very physically fit young woman wearing her father's armor since he was too old to safely fight in the Storm of Chaos (Buff french Mulan is acceptable), a silver-tongued but cowardly peasant vagabond who is on the run from his home province of Mousillon, an ingenious peasant con-man who has dreams of glory and fortune, and a talented, tough peasant man at arms who's handy with a sword. They're a good little cross-section/example party.

A final wrapup

I love Bretonnia, as was probably really obvious from the review, but this book is a huge part of why I do. It does a great job of painting a complicated, textured society of people who are making understandable choices based on their upbringing and social situation, with plenty of room for PCs to be people who upend the regimented-but-not-nearly-as-regimented-as-they-say society they're adventuring in. It gets at one of the big reasons I love the shades of grey in the Old World in general: They remember you need some white in there to get the grey. The Empire, Kislev, Bretonnia, and others aren't just 'not as bad' as Chaos. All of the various protagonist nations are actually better. Bretonnia feels like a place that is going to have to have a reckoning with itself some day, because even the absolute fulfillment of its ideals doesn't fix all of the injustice in the land. At the same time, when the Knights do the things they're really, truly supposed to do, it's allowed to be heroic and awe-inspiring. Combined with all the deception and nodding and winking, and all the mysteries about the Lady and the Fae, you understand why Bretonnia looks how it does. And the way it looks is really conducive to having rad adventures.

One of the biggest tests for a sourcebook is whether or not, when you put it down, you really want to use the material that was in it. Both Night's Dark Masters and Knights of the Grail do that for me. Realm of the Ice Queen does the same. Sigmar's Heirs is an odd man out and an exception (the Empire book), but it was also the first 'nation' book they did, they cannibalized a lot of what could've helped it out to put in the Official Campaign, and it just ended up pretty dull.

Next we're going to get to the biggest antagonist book in the game line, and it's a whopper. Tome of Corruption is 270 pages of dense fluff and crunch, and I'm going to have a hell of a lot to talk about about Chaos in the process. Chaos is the weakest element of Warhammer Fantasy as written, despite having pride of place with GW's official canon for the setting, but Tome of Corruption is still a good book and does a good job of helping you make Chaos foes who can turn out way better than the canon stuff without too much effort.

Next Time: Kahyoss Begins.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I really want to play a Bret knight now, they get some awesome stuff and I want to raise a baby horsebird.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Mors Rattus posted:

I really want to play a Bret knight now, they get some awesome stuff and I want to raise a baby horsebird.

I got to raise a Catbird as an optimistic spanish fencer.

CEDRIC NO! was wonderful. We also named the griffin before we knew what gender she was, so we gave her a masculine name without realizing it before a Priest of Verena helped us determine Cedric was a ladybird.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



This has certainly made me want to run or play a Bretonnian game, if one probably aimed more at examining the stresses that in the long run may tear the kingdom apart. Or going the comedic route.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010



I have a distinct feeling I'm going to have to hunt down the WHFRP books, because god drat your write-ups make me want to play it; Bretonnia looks ridiculously fun. There's a giant chunk of knights in the land whose driving motivation is "gently caress BOWS", and that's incredible.

Also it's incredibly cruel of you to tell us that there's a class devoted to bear taming and then making us wait an entire 270-page book for it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I mean, don't get me wrong, someone makes homebrew lizardmen and I'm being a lizard all day, but a Bret Knight of Discipline is a solid second best. Being able to be one man holding the bridge against an army and come out alive is a hell of power.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I suspect the Virtues are there partly because they were a big thing for TT Bretonnian special characters (they're actually all RPG-ized translations of the TT bonuses) but also so you could really differentiate Knights if you had multiple Knights of the Realm in your party.

E: One of the Bear Tamer's starting items is "One (1) bear, for taming."

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 18:51 on Aug 7, 2017

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

I suspect the Virtues are there partly because they were a big thing for TT Bretonnian special characters (they're actually all RPG-ized translations of the TT bonuses) but also so you could really differentiate Knights if you had multiple Knights of the Realm in your party.

"You're all nobles and friends of about the same age who grew up together and are all getting kicked out for your Errantry tour" seems like a perfectly plausible party setup.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The one problem with Grail Virtues is that by the time you have one, you're probably in the last 3-5 sessions of a campaign.

But you're going to be awesome as hell for those 3-5 sessions.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



I don't even warham, but I definitely want to play a Bret game.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Well, like, even at pre-Grail levels, Discipline is 'you guys take on the big one, I'll handle THE ENTIRE MINION SQUAD'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Mors Rattus posted:

Well, like, even at pre-Grail levels, Discipline is 'you guys take on the big one, I'll handle THE ENTIRE MINION SQUAD'

This is also why the Knightly Virtues are all actually pretty powerful; a lot of Knights will go into Captain, Explorer, Noble Lord or other Exits instead of Questing Knight and they wanted it to still feel like you got something special and exciting.

ZorajitZorajit
Sep 15, 2013

No static at all...

Seriously man, I've always admired WFRP from afar but these write ups are wonderful. I've got sprawling notes for my collected homebrew setting and these are wonderfully insightful in how to make interesting locales and peoples.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.





CHAPTER THREE: THE DREAM CAGES

Or

WYNNE VS. DURCET: SLAUGHTER IN SHANGHAI


Warning: this update has a scene where one person is sold in a human slavery auction. This update also has violence against minors. If this makes you uncomfortable, skip this.

Each Dream Cage is 100 feet by 100 feet with 30 foot ceilings. Stuff inside of the simulator is as real as it feels, but trying to bring things out of the cage means they crumble. What this translates to is that stuff inside the Dream Cages can be used to kill or hurt and all damage sustained is real if you're human. The players are stripped naked but the moment they're in the cage, the cage automatically produces hard light duds on your person. It's all hard light. The entry is always in the same place in a 10x10 little room and the way out is locked with Access 1. To kind of mentally map out this space, basically set three tennis courts side-by-side-by-side and then add some more to the end of the width. I kinda feel like these maps are too small for everything they want to cram in here? Why not just, like, 1000 feet by 1000 feet? Who the gently caress knows.

Blangis helped the other Lords make their own dreams become reality by rewiring and reworking the controls and parameters of the Dream Cages. Maddalena Durcet's favorite possessions were 20th century Asian curios and artifacts and that hasn't diminished since she went to prison. With Blangis' help, Durcet's Magical Realm is Shanghai on New Year's Eve in 1936 before the Japanese attack. Chinese New Year or Regular New Year? gently caress you, that's which New Year. This "idealized" fantasy Shanghai is beneath the streets of a city always in the midst of depraved revelry with an opium den, a slave market and general partying. This whole place takes place in a literal criminal underground ruled by its shadow queen, Durcet's own Dream Cages-sona she calls the Princess of Pins, spending her rule in a blissful haze of drugs to numb the pain of this not being real.

SHANGHAI, 1936




The water here is actually real, piped in from tanks and dispersed to be fog, rain, ocean water, etc. You can swim in the water if you feel so inclined. Pick an entry point.


The tunnels have to be traversed in order to get you from place to place. This just refers to all of the tunnel system.




Anywhere marked with a * is Area 33. The enemy here is an accomplice with a shiv and their goal is to defeat a PC, disarm them and drag them to Area 40. Fortunately, these are one-on-one fights and now Jackpot has a weapon she's good at using.


Social check or the kid panics. The boy is named #9940001 (Jose) and was arrested way back when for defacing a PTM billboard with spray-paint. He managed to escape from the juvenile wings with a group of other kids and got captured by the Lords. He will explain what happens at #36 and also warn Jackpot to not go to #38. Let's just address the elephant in the room: Jose looks like he's eight? He can't be 8. What the gently caress is it with this game and misunderstanding how children function after five years of being trapped in prison. Anyway Jose managed to escape when one of his friends got kidnapped and has been hiding out since, wanting to team up with whoever finds him to they can keep him safe. Jackpot is willing to do this and, well, Jose is useless in a fight and she'd feel kinda bad about him getting killed by her negligence, she's not that cold-blooded.





Despair check! This is where the remains of Durcet's victims get stashed. All of them are under 19 and Medical Knowledge will reveal that they've been exsanguinated.


This area is an auction house dedicated to human slavery where kidnapped children are brought to be ogled and sold off to the highest, most deviant bidder. This is generally Durcet, who has constructed the area to enjoy the thrill of having to fight for why she deserves to have and torture the object of her desire. Durcet will intentionally pick out the PC (Jackpot) and challenge them to a bidding contest over the child up for auction, a 13 year old who was recently kidnapped by the Lords. If the PC accepts (and Jackpot will because she's particularly headstrong), Durcet will explain how bidding works. Bidding must be done with memories and the bidder must tell the memory to the crowd in the form of a story. Bids must be of horrifying or criminal events the bidder was a part of. In mechanical terms, each bid is equal to one point of Guilt. The main reason I didn't send Ice Queen here is because she has no Guilt due to being innocent and that would require her to engage more thoroughly in the rules. If you can't bid, you can lie and make an opposed Wits check to see if Durcet tells if you're lying. Durcet has five points of Guilt, so she has five bids she can make:



Anyone with 6 points of Guilt can automatically beat her. Jackpot has 4 which means she'd have to tell two lies.
  • When I was a child I helped my parents build a bomb. (Lie)
  • My parents used my small size to get into places they couldn't so they could sabotage PTM offices.
  • I robbed my first store when I was 12. I had a gun I stole from my parents.
  • I robbed my first bank at 14.
  • I kneecapped a guard with a shotgun in order to keep the hostages in line. (Lie)
  • I had a friend break into the jail where I was being held and had my records changed to make me a Trustee and I abused my position for fun once on the Gehenna.
If Jackpot is caught lying or loses, she's immediately ejected. If she wins...Durcet keeps her word and turns the victim over to the winner before leaving with her entourage (8 artificials, 4 accomplices to prevent people from bum-rushing her). Either way, Durcet goes to Area 40 from here and Jackpot now has two terrified teenagers following her around.


The cockfights are full of artificials watching the show but two accomplices will follow the PC once they leave the room and attempt to ambush them. Failing the fight means you get dragged to Area 40 like if you failed an Area 33 fight.


The air of the opium den is infused with a chemical cocktail made my Blangis for Durcet's use that artificials are immune to but people aren't. Entering this room forces an immediate Willpower check where failure costs 1d2 temporary Willpower damage. The chemical is a narcotic that causes a relaxed stupor and forgetfulness, like real opium but faster-acting. Every turn you stay here you have to make a check but you can leave at any time until you go below 1 Willpower. Hitting 0 Willpower renders the victim catatonic, alive but unable to move or think properly, and the artificial will gently lower the victim into a hammock to rest until someone rescues them. Willpower is regained 2 points per night of rest outside of the opium den. So yeah it's just a trap.


There's nothing here, it's just an antechamber to the final fight.


If Durcet won the teen or the PC didn't go to the auction, she'll be here dramatically draining their blood with her needlefingers. The teen will die in 1d3 rounds and if the PC doesn't act to save them or can't, Guilt check. If the PC succeeded (yo, and Jackpot also told the teens to stay outside while she took care of this), Durcet will attempt to seduce the PC so she can get a free hit in when the time is right. Either way, this ends in a fight where Durcet's special needlefingers deal 1d4+2 damage and also deal bleeding damage, costing 1 hit point per round for three rounds unless staunched early due to medical attention. If the teen is being drained, attacking her means she'll ignore the teen. Fortunately for Jackpot, she knows a thing or two about knife-fighting.

How this shakes out is that Jackpot is receptive to the seduction, moving in close to embrace her from behind...and then repeatedly shanks Durcet in the stomach with a shiv she took from one of the accomplices as Durcet tries to fight back. Jackpot's not exactly sure if this counts as killing a princess or a queen...but hey, her parents would be proud that she's brought down an authority figure like this.



The Monitor won't interfere with people escaping the Cages and Jackpot slips out into the real world with Jose and the other teen in tow...and everyone lets out an annoyed groan at the fact that their holoclothes have been destroyed. Thanks, Dream Cages. Thanks.

NEXT TIME: First we took Shanghai. Now we take Berlin.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


That was somehow both really creepy and really anticlimactic.

Like, they have this perfect way of making it uncomfortable because you know what's going on and all, but it's also so badly done and ham-fisted that it isn't scary or interesting. Just sort of sad.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010



Yeah, it's kind of just... nothing. Durcet just comes across as sort of pathetic.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



All of the Lords die pretty anticlimactically except for Curval. Curval is the most difficult of them to fight because he actually knows how to fight. Every Dream Cage is basically the equivalent of spending one to three hours or so at a bad, creepy LARP and then when the person running it flounces over and is like "I am so creative!" you deck them in the face and they start crying and run away.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Oh, right, I forgot one thing from Bretonnia: The Bretonnian Truffle Hound. These are incredibly ugly, loyal dogs who loving love truffles. Bretonnians use the Truffle Hounds to find truffles, but then you've got to keep the dog away from the precious mushroom so you can harvest it. But more than that, you've gotta keep the dog away from it because if a male Truffle Hound gets a truffle it makes him real amorous. And real paranoid. At which point he tries to deal with any other males in the area by going directly for the groin. The sidebar for these little menaces suggests having servants of dark powers give the Lord's hounds a ton of truffles in the pens so that it's up to inexplicably immune PCs (because they're women in disguise) to corral the crazy pooches before they cause too much chaos.

Bretonnia can be a silly place.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

So the question becomes are Truffle hounds -actual- hounds or are they pigs that no one wants to admit are actually pigs so they call them truffle hounds?

"Nice pig"

"That is no pig! That is my prize-winning truffle hound!"

And then someone gets challenged to a joust.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



You're on the internet. Anything is a dog if enough people say it is.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


They're described as looking like 'a dog that was dropped from a high place, broken into pieces, and put back together by a five year old.'

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

That actually sounds more like a truffle pig. The thing about hounds versus pigs is that hounds don't actually want to eat truffles, but don't have noses as powerful as the pig, who is more efficient but has to be forcefully kept away from the truffles.

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Later on, in Kislev, they'll talk about how Vodka is a normal, minor drink everyone enjoys to purify water but Kvas, that stuff will hammer a dwarf.

Kvas is a soft drink.

I think it's intentional.

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